The theme of the 2019-2020 Presidential Initiatives is grounded in four R’s: Recruit, Reaffirm, Recognize and Retain. Since announcing the Initiatives at the Annual Meeting in February, dates have been set for some of the events and others have already taken place. In addition to attending the first of our National events in South Boston, I have already presented greetings to both the Children of the American Revolution in Williamsburg and the Daughters of the American Revolution in Richmond, as well as attending ceremonies in both Culpeper and Oak Grove and the National Spring Leadership Meting in Louisville, Kentucky.
The importance of Recruiting is obvious. New members are the life blood of our organization. Recruiting, however, is more than just attracting and enlisting new members. As an incentive for recruiting new members, the Chapter grant program initiated by then President Mike Elston and continued under Past President Pat Kelly will continue. I am assured that the rebate checks to the eligible chapters will be going out in the next week or so. We need to continue our work with the CAR and DAR to obtain referrals of those who might be eligible for membership. Recruiting however also includes getting members to serve on Committees, Chapter, State and National, to serve as officers at those levels, and to attract and encourage youth to participate in our Youth Programs, including the Eagle Scout Program, The ROTC/JROTC Program, The Orations, Essay, Poster and Brochures Programs. Chapter or Chapters participating in the most of these programs will again be recognized by the Wayne and Wink Rouse Award. To facilitate youth participation, financial incentives are essential. The Mark S, Brennan, Jr. Fund has been in the forefront of allowing us as a State Society to increase those incentives. I therefore have challenged the Society to add at least $15,000 to this Fund and I will personally match the first $2,000 raised. My check has already been sent and I ask you to do the same. Chapters having individuals who contribute at least $1,000 will be recognized with a streamer and donations will be counted toward commissions or promotions in the First Virginia SAR Regiment. Contributions should be made payable to Virginia SAR, with the Brennan Fund indicated on the Memo line, and sent to our Society Treasurer, Rick Elofson, 21 Paula Maria Drive, Newport News, Virginia 23606.
The second R is for Reaffirm. Every time we recite the SAR Pledge, we commit ourselves to reaffirm our commitment to defend the principles of Liberty and our Constitutional Republic against every foe. As a means of doing so, I challenge you to make every effort to attend the four Nationally recognized events in the Commonwealth. The first of these, the Crossing of the Dan, took place the third week of February. The three remaining are Martin’s Station celebrated on May 11, Yorktown on October 19, and Great Bridge in early December. Chapters having members attending all four events will be recognized with a streamer. A monument will be dedicated later in the year honoring the Culpeper Minutemen. Participation there will also be recognized with a streamer. We also will again be joining with the Society of the War of 1812 in Virginia and will be participating in two ceremonies on June 1, the first a grave marking ceremony at the Cedar Grove Ceremony at 10:00 and the second a plaque dedication at 11:30 at the Trinity Episcopal Church in Portsmouth, Virginia. A program to place markers or monuments honoring patriots and War of 1812 veterans buried or memorialized in each of Virginia’s counties at the Courthouse or other significant location, similar to the recognition given to World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and more recent conflicts has been launched, we expect to dedicate one in Warren County this fall, and further hope to continue this project in years to come. We are also looking ahead, and as part of our Strategic Planning will develop a multi-year plan so that future dedications can include the DAR and veteran’s organizations in such recognition programs.
The third R is to Recognize. Here there is some overlap with the second R, but as envisioned, we need to focus on recognizing and rewarding those who participate in our programs, giving their time energy, and money to advance our cause. Our Youth Program participants, compatriots, spouses, schools, businesses, and friends who properly display the flag, public servants, particularly our first responders, and elected community officials all richly deserve recognition. 2019 also marks the 400th Anniversary of the arrival of indentured Afro-American at Jamestown and the Williamsburg Chapter’s its 50th Anniversary.
The last R is for Retain. The challenge here is to communicate with our members, to continuously solicit their input and provide the types of programs that will make them want to get involved. We ended 2018 with a modest but positive growth. Let’s build on it in 2019; it takes a concerted effort on all of our parts.
12 Apr 2019 Halifax, NC
On this pleasant, but windy day, the SAR, SR, DAR, and the community of Halifax, NC, gathered to mark that on April 12, 1776, the Fourth Provincial Congress of North Carolina, meeting here in Halifax, adopted a resolution advocating for independence for the Colonies from Great Britain. The Virginia SAR was represented by 1st Vice President Bill Schwetke; Dan River Chapter President Gary Hall; and David Cook of the Fairfax Resolves. All three marched in the Color Guard. 1st Vice President Bill Schwetke, brought greetings from the Virginia SAR and presented the Society wreath.
After a break for lunch, the Charters of Freedom Display was dedicated at the Old Court House in Halifax.. Culpeper will have a similar display as part of the Culpeper Minutemen Memorial being dedicated this Fall. The Charters of Freedom Display includes the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and uniquely in Halifax, the Halifax Resolves.
The George Washington Chapter celebrated its 65th year on 13 April 2019 at the Mount Vernon Country Club in Alexandria, with over 70 compatriots and guests in attendance. The chapter was chartered on 2 April 1954 with 14 charter members. The chapter today has over 250 members and continues to grow.
Chapter Vice President Jay Henn served as Master of Ceremonies. The event began with a Junior ROTC Bronze Medal presented to Cadet 1LT Tyler Herod, a student at Mount Vernon High School. The SAR Law Enforcement Medal was then awarded to Officer K.C. Webb with the Fairfax Police Department. Two new members were inducted by President General Warren Alter: John Easely and Michael West. During the ceremony, guests were serenaded by the talented Sgt. Don Francisco and his fife. After luncheon, greetings were brought by SAR President General Warren Alter, Virginia Society SAR 2nd Vice President Jeff Thomas, and by Kate Waller Barrett DAR Regent Claire Bennett.
The guest speaker was Holly Lynn McKinley Schmidt, Virginia DAR Historian, whose topic was “Children of the American Revolution-Training Tomorrow’s Leader” Photos below (l to r, top to bottom) Meeting attendees; anniversary cake, Fifer Francisco, President General Alter, Public Safety Awardee Officer Webb, JROTC Awardee Tyler Herod, new member inductees, 2nd VASSAR VP Jeff Thomas, Regent Claire Bennett, Guest Speaker Holly Lynn McKinley Schmidt.
Submitted by Paul Walden
On a rainy Saturday, April 13, members of the Colonel George Waller Chapter and the General Joseph Martin Chapter-Daughters of the American Revolution participated in a living history day at the historic Yates Tavern built in 1750 and located in Grenta, Virginia. The event was sponsored by the Pittsylvania Historical Society and the Thomas Carter Chapter-DAR. The activities included blacksmithing, powder horn etching, colonial children toys, sewing & spinning, and a military encampment.
Submitted by Bob Vogler, President, Col. Geo. Waller Chapter
Below: Photo 1- Compatriots (L to R) Bob Vogler, Gene Reamey, Jeff Briggs, & Andy Doss;
Photo #2- Camp scene
A Certificate of Recognition by the National Society, Sons of the American Revolution was presented to new Eagle Scout William (Wil) Bornschein at Jamestown Presbyterian Church at a Court of Honor of Troop 102. The ceremony was conducted by the Order of the Arrow (OA), the BSA National Honor Society. The certificate was presented by chapter past-president Harley Stewart (left) to Wil Bornschein (center) with Chris Colvin (right) troop scoutmaster.
Submitted by: Harley Stewart
Friday evening April 12th the Combined Color Guard of the James Monroe Chapter and the Richard Henry Lee Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution and the War of 1812 Society in Virginia presented the Colors for the Northumberland County Little League opening ceremony. Jim Russell, George Beckett, Hugh Markham and Charles Belfield pose with one of the Leagues team.
The Col. James Wood II Chapter held a Revolutionary War Marking Ceremony for Capt. Adam Heiskell who was a member of the "Dutch Mess" serving with Gen. Daniel Morgan during the War. The ceremony was held at the Mt. Hebron Cemetery in Winchester VA on Saturday April 6th. The President of the Virginia Society of the Sons of the American Revolution assisted with the Color Guard duties and dedication of the new Memorial headstone. Those attending as Honor Guard and participants in the photo were, left to right: Paul Christensen, Rev. Raleigh Watson, Marc Robinson, Rev. James Simmons, Clay Robinson, Peter Davenport (President VASSAR), Mike Weyler ( President Col. William Grayson Chapter), Paul Chase (VASSAR Color Guard Commander), Patrick Corey, Mike Dennis (Culpeper Minute Men Color Guard Commander), Deborah Corey, Dale Corey (President Col. James Wood II Chapter) and Charles Jameson (1st VP, Culpeper Minute Men Chapter).
Additional members of the CJWII chapter who participated were Wayne Barringer, Marshall DeHaven, Don Dusenbury, Gary Fletcher, Stephen Gahr, Fred Gill, Jack Lillis, Bob Thomasson, Bill Wood (piper). Also participating in the wreath ceremony was Sara Boppe, (Registrar Fort Loudoun Chapter of the DAR).
President William Greaf (left) and Vice President Jay Smith (center) of the Williamsburg Chapter present speaker Randolph Flood (right) with a Jefferson Cup and Certificate of Appreciation.
Randolph Flood’s topic was “26 Years of the American Revolution.” He is Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of the American Revolution Consortium for Civic Education to educate fellow citizens about the Revolution, which is headquartered in Williamsburg, Virginia. Flood is Vice President of the American Revolution Roundtable in Williamsburg-Yorktown. He also teaches classes as a Historical Interpretive Instructor at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown where 74,000+ individuals have taken his classes.
Submitted by: Harley Stewart
The James Monroe Chapter Color Guard along with the War of 1812 Society in Virginia presented the colors for the opening program for the Richmond County Little League season. This year the James Monroe Chapter sponsored a team of minor league players. On that team is member Colt Belfield along with member Brennen Belfield as coach. By sponsoring a team the Richmond County Little League displays a banner with the James Monroe Chapter Virginia Society on an out field fence. Also the Sons of the American Revolutions name is displayed on the back of the teams uniforms. The little league season begins now and last well into fall with thousands of children, parents, friends and relatives attending. Every time the Mets minor league team plays the Sons of the American Revolution banner will be displayed. Every person that attends the game will walk by our banner because it is located on the out field fence next to the park entrance. Below are Compatriots Charles Belfield (left) and George Beckett (right) posting Colors and the Little League team sponsored by the James Monroe Chapter.
Gerry Ward, left, receives his Certificate of Membership in the National Society, Sons of the American Revolution from William Greaf, right, President of the Williamsburg Chapter. Ward’s patriot ancestor, Evan Shelby II, served as a surgeon in Gen. Thomas Sumter’s Brigade of the South Caroline Line. Submitted by: Harley Stewart